Figure Sculpture with Jason Arkles
Time & Location
About the event
In this four day course, sculptor Jason Arkles leads the class in creating 30% life-sized figures in clay, using the visual measurement techniques of the Sight Size method. Working from a live model posed in a seated position, students will learn how to build clay figures of substantial dimensions without the use of an armature, in water-based clay. Instructor Jason Arkles will work alongside students throughout the duration of the course, providing a demonstration of techniques and practices for the entirety of the course.
Throughout the course, each student will work from a living model seven hours a day. Instead of moulding and casting the work at the end of the course, these seated figures will be hollowed out leaving them ready to dry and to be subsequently fired into terracotta statuettes, should the students wish. Alternatively, students can take their work home for further finishing or casting, as desired.
About Sight size techniques:
'Sight size' is the common name for a body of techniques designed to develop the eye of the artist into a powerful, objective measuring tool. It's origins date back to the early Renaissance, and many elements employed in the technique are detailed in Leon Battista Alberti's treatise of sculpture known as 'Della Statua' first published in 1436. The method cemented itself into its current form when it became a popular technique in the Parisian studios of the 19th Century, when it was known generally as 'the French Method'. The method was favoured by the Romantic and Realist movements, as well as the 'New Sculpture' movement in Victorian Britain, and the 'Beaux-Arts style' in the United States.
Utilizing a plumbline, mirror, and simple optical and geometric principles (no math involved!), a person sculpting using Sight size methods has little need for compasses and calliper measurements, ruler measurements, or compositional canons (like drawing a centre line down the torso, dividing the face into three equal parts to locate features, and other non-visual, constructionist methods). The result in being trained in Sight size is that an artist has an improved visual memory, an instinct towards seeing the 'big look' of a composition, and most importantly, it leads to a personal, non-formulaic style in art, as the result of sight size is sculpture which stands as a record of the artist's visual perception of the world, filtered through the artist's consciousness. Sight size is sculpting what you see, tempered by how you feel about what you see. Once the method is mastered, a student can effectively model in clay a copy of anything they see in nature around them.